Analysis Comparison for the Top 3 Rideshare Services (Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar)
By now, most people now what a rideshare service is. If not, let me briefly explain. Ridesharing is the alternative to driving to work along. It’s similar to a taxi, except normal people like you and me use our personal vehicles for this service. In the article below, you will see a comparison of the top 3 companies -Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar. This analysis comparison is compiled from an actual rideshare driver.
Each company has their own pros and cons. Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar all use similar systems with a few differences to set them apart.
General Rideshare Information
To request a ride you have two options: App or Online. If you are home or at work you may find the online process easy enough. But if you are like most of us, time is of the essence. The fastest way to request a ride is with each businesses App (For example, if you are requesting a ride with Uber you would use the Uber app, Lyft app for Lyft, and Sidecar app for sidecar). Payment is done by credit card for all three services.
Next are understanding and calculating fares. To calculate, you will need to understand two important components- distance and time.
- Distance = How far you will be going in your rideshare
- Time = The time of day you request services, not the time of order.
Distance fares are based on mileage and have a basic set price. This set price can go up or down depending on the time of day. For example, if you request a Lyft rideshare at 2:00 am Saturday morning, you can expect your fair to be 3x the normal rate. This is considered a prime time and is when many customers start requesting rides because they drank a little too much with their friends.
Drivers Information – Fare, Cars, etc…
Wouldn’t it be nice if a driver accepts the ride request, he or she is told about the fare before? Unfortunately, only sidecar has this option. Uber shows the driver their fare after the ride has ended. Lyft shows the driver their fare the day after on his or her daily summary.
Most drivers can estimate their fares pretty accurately using navigational maps or apps. Google maps will show you the distance and time.
Cars are the most important aspect of becoming a rideshare driver. But did you know that drivers receive a class depending on the make, year, and condition of their vehicle?
Lyft requests all drivers to have 4 door vehicles. The vehicle must be 2000 or newer. Uber also request their drivers to have a 4 door vehicle. You must have a 2006 or newer vehicle (I heard rumors that in some markets you can use a 2004 or newer). If you have a vehicle that can handle 6 passengers you can also sign up for the UberXL. When passengers request a UberXL you can receive 1.75x the fair.
Sidecar is the only company that allows you to use a 2 door or 4 door vehicle. Sidecar also requires a 2000 or newer vehicle. With sidecar, the passenger can choose the car they want. If you have a nicer car, you may get a few more request.
There are more drivers for Uber than Lyft or Sidecar in most major cities, except for San Francisco. Uber estimated time of arrival (ETA of the driver) is lower than it’s rivals. At non prime time (during the daytime hours) it may be harder to get a Lyft driver than with Uber.
All Drivers must be 21 years of age or older, with all three companies. An insurance policy is placed on the driver of Uber and Lyft anytime the driver is picking up passengers (both in route and dropping off). This is classified as “driver mode”. When the driver is not picking up passengers he or she is required to have their own insurance policy. Sidecar only has an insurance policy when the driver is accepting passengers.
Rideshare Company Comparison
With Lyft, you can make money driving others or also through an invite to be a mentor. The opportunity to make money depends on how much time you are available to be a driver. You are paid weekly. The Lyft driver community is very friendly. The drivers help one another out and watch out for each other too. Lyft passengers also tend to be friendlier and more talkative than other company passengers. Passengers can tip on Lyft (Uber does not allow tipping except for Ubertaxi). Other Key Points about Lyft:
- Mentors evaluate drivers and their cars.
- Facebook driven community.
- $1M insurance policy on driver and passengers.
- Prime Time Tips (PTT) during busy times.
- PTT is anonymous drivers do not see.
- Good driver bonuses and referrals.
- Currently in over 60 US cities.
- Use Smartphone App.
- Payments through credit card.
With Uber, also known as Uberx (your personal driver), you have the highest potential of earning money. Uber has surge pricing during the morning hours when everyone is rushing to work. These hours can be very lucrative for Uber drivers. However, some markets are saturated with drivers and call request can be slow. Also, Uber charges their drivers a $10 weekly phone fee. Many drivers were so upset by the fee they quit to drive for the competition. Other key points about Uber:
- Saturation on the market makes it difficult to get your hourly guarantee.
- UberX driver application is easy to complete.
- Four levels of standard rates (UberX, UberXL, UberBlack, UberSUV, UberTaxi).
- Minimum $5 +variables based on the mileage, time, and city. Rates for limos are 50-70% higher than UberTaxi.
- Surge pricing during busy times.
- Drivers do not know the cost of the ride before trip.
- Weekend promotions (can earn up to $40 an hour).
- Huge sign up bonus for new experienced drivers.
- In over 60 cities in the United States and over 115 cities in 36 other countries.
- $1M insurance policy on the driver when the app is on.
- Uber drivers can only use iPhones to drive.
Sidecar is for those drivers who only are looking for an extra way to earn a little extra cash. If you drive from here to there, you might as well earn a little extra money picking up passengers. For drivers, there is not as much business as there is with Lyft and Uber. Drivers are encouraged to set their minimum fares. As a driver, you can set your fare to be compared to what you would make with Lyft or Uber. Here are some key points with Sidecar:
- Short phone interview and approval.
- Riders who stiff drivers get culled.
- Drivers who are stiffed are reimbursed by Sidecar (usually takes two weeks)
- The only company were drivers know the where and fare of passengers.
- The only company you can use a 2 door car.
- An Insurance policy only covers driver when they have picked up passengers.
- They are in limited cities in the United States.
These three top companies have many similar programs with many different options. These options may benefit the driver and/or passenger. Be sure the next time you take a rideshare service you know which company is best for your mileage and time.